To mark today’s launch of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, we asked the Kennel Club’s Health Information Manager, Aimée Llewellyn, to tell us more about the journal’s background and its potential impact on the wellbeing of dogs:
The Kennel Club had been working to improve their educational resources for many years. In late 2011, it was agreed to investigate developing or potentially linking with a canine-focused scientific journal to make the newly emerging genetic research more accessible to the general public and dog breeders, as well as a more centralized resource for the veterinary community.
The problem was there wasn’t a journal already in place that focused purely, or even mainly, on dog health. So we looked into the option of setting one up.
When I started at the Kennel Club in 2012, I had come out of working in genomics and metabolomics in the plant sciences, where I could easily access a dozen or more journals that made research and literature reviews fairly straight forward.
I couldn’t believe that despite dogs being such a significant part of pet ownership that there wasn’t a dedicated journal, especially when some of the most exciting work in genetics was coming out of large canine-focused projects such as LUPA and the whole dog genome project at the BROAD institute. So, of course, being involved in the early stages of developing and supporting Canine Genetics and Epidemiology was incredibly exciting for me personally.
I was lucky enough to be working for an organization that was dedicated to improving dog health, and that had built relationships with external advisors across the research (and veterinary) world, including Prof Ollier, who was vital to the progression of the journal project. And thanks to the Kennel Club Educational Trust, we were able to use Trust funding to support the journal by providing bursaries to assist researchers in making submissions to the journal as accessible as possible.
The intention was always to make a journal that was truly accessible to all – not just in terms of access and cost, but also in content. If a new journal was going to be developed, and if the Kennel Club was going to invest in supporting it, it had to be independent and robust scientifically, but also a resource that could educate and benefit the general public. We were confident that by using an open access publisher and setting up an independent editorial board, this would be achievable.
Early on, the concept of extended lay summaries was suggested, ensuring that anyone would be able to benefit from key take-home messages of the research, as well as have access to full-text articles. It was vital that all of those working to improve our understanding of dogs and dog health – dog owners, dog breeders, veterinary nurses, veterinary scientists, and canine researchers had something to gain from the journal.
It is my hope that this journal will become a standard reference for those new and experienced in the field of canine health and research. I’d love to see it established as the first choice for those in canine-dedicated research to submit their work – not only because it will have become a prestigious journal, but because they will appreciate how important it is to dog health to share knowledge with the widest possible audience. Ultimately, it will be the dogs, our beloved companions that will benefit.
Canine Genetics and Epidemiology is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal publishing original research and review articles relating to all aspects of canine genetics and epidemiology.